Would you read 3 books in your life time? Of course not. You would want to read many more.
Alain de Botton in his book Religion for Atheists argues that Education does not equip us to lead better lives but that religious rituals and teachings do.
He makes the point that a humanities under graduate might read 800 books, where as a wealthy family in the 12th Century would have 3 books (albeit very expensive) – the Bible, a collection of prayers, and a compendium of the lives of saints. The issue for the 21st Century is the guilt people feel in not consuming as many books as possible, not in how they are absorbed. It is the re-reading of religious texts that confirm the rituals not only of the mind but of the body too. 3 Books.
For example the Bhuddist Tea Ceremony is not practiced to teach again and again to but to relive and deepen the experience of the ritual. Participants have gained an intellectual grasp of the ceremony and its meanings, but are also given the opportunity of renewal and an openness to more subtle understandings of the basis of the ritual.
The idea that we should train our bodies like our minds has led to the founding of retreats where people can take time out of their everyday lives to re-establish their spiritual selves.
De Botton goes onto to talk about the difference between secular and religious education. Can you imagine a university having a Department for Relationships? No .. but wouldn’t it be interesting!? His point is that Academia today is interested in ideas confirming our independence and maturity that are easily forgotten.
Religious education is more focused on a way to comfort and guide our souls. Not believable? He makes the point that in the secular world we are reading the right books but not asking the right questions which address our needs. Yet Christianity looks at our more childlike selves. It wants to give us little pieces of information and guidance which are digestible and not big wholes.
Anything written on religion in competition with the secular world creates a polemic on the same topic which is considered by others as sustaining and nurturing.
Hopefully through this process we can pick and choose what meets our needs.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2014
All rights reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.